Thurston Middle School honored their namesake Marie Thurston this past Thursday with the unveiling of the Marie Thurston Memorial Wall in the library and administration building.
Laguna Beach Council Member Kelly Boyd, Marie Thurston’s grandson, was scheduled to speak at the event, which was sponsored by the PTA and attended by district officials.
Boyd and his wife Michelle worked closely with Thurston’s leadership class students to celebrate Marie Thurston’s contribution to the school and to organize the tribute.
Marie Thurston was one of the first teachers in Laguna Beach and the first principal of Laguna Beach Grade School in 1913. She also served on the Laguna Beach School Board and Elementary School Parent-Teachers Association. During WWI, she organized the first Junior Red Cross group. In addition to participating in many local and national organizations, Thurston also organized the first Girl Scout troup in Laguna Beach.
Thurston’s principal Joanne Culverhouse said that the idea of paying tribute to Marie Thurston was conceived a couple of years ago when student leaders asked about the origin of the school’s name. Since she knew that Marie Thurston was Kelly Boyd’s grandmother, Culverhouse approached Boyd and Michelle about the history. “Michelle shared the articles she had written for the Laguna Beach Independent in 2008,” said Culverhouse. “This helped me realize what a valuable contribution Marie Thurston made not only to education, but also to the entire Laguna Beach community.”
Michelle Boyd said it was an honor to work with Thurston’s Leadership class and help shape their many ideas for the tribute into reality. “It was their enthusiasm and passion about the project that inspired me to make Marie’s tribute as full and complete as I could,” she said. “I really felt Marie’s presence and help when trying to finish up the final pieces of text. It was truly a labor of love and a tribute long overdue.”